LONDON: States, regions and provinces are leading the economic, social and environmental clean revolution that will lead us to the prosperous net-zero society of the future, according to The Climate Group’s new States & Regions annual report.
The network of 38 governments from six continents, which collectively account for 368 million people, 12% of global GDP and 2.9 gigatons of CO2 emissions, is putting in place ambitious polices that are spearheading impactful climate solutions in their countries.
“State and regional governments are consistently showing how tackling climate change is good for their citizens, their economies and for the environment,” comments Libby Ferguson, States & Regions Director, The Climate Group.
“And they are playing a key role in setting ambitious long-term emissions reductions targets, through leading important climate initiatives such as the Under2 Coalition, which commits 165 jurisdictions, spanning 33 countries and six continents, to reducing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions towards net-zero by 2050.”
The report shows that more state and regional governments are committing to transparency and accountability, with 62 governments publicly disclosing their climate data in 2016 – a 41% year-on-year increase.
It also highlights how states and regions are shaping the world of the future through effective collaboration and sharing of best practices. The new report cites the example of Canada, which has set an ambitious framework for clean growth to tackle climate change – showing once again how states and regions have played a pivotal role in formulating an ambitious national plan.
Scotland – another member of the States & Regions Alliance – has reinforced the role of state and regional governments in tackling climate change, proposing a plan to cut its GHG emissions by two-thirds by 2032, setting one of the world’s most ambitious reduction plans.
The Australian state of Victoria, which is also a member of the States & Regions Alliance, is showing how climate change can be an economic opportunity for sustainable growth. A recent report highlights how engaging with small and medium sized enterprises on environmental programs will save them a combined A$4.74 million (US$3.63 million) a year.
Additionally, 11 states and regions – Alberta, the Basque Country, California, Hauts-de-France, Lombardy, Minnesota, North Rhine-Westphalia, Silesia, South Australia, Upper Austria and Wales – with the most energy-intensive industries in the world, are demonstrating the economic opportunity of steering their economies towards a sustainable path.
These governments are coming together to develop, share and implement innovative, clean policies in an Energy Transition Platform – as part of part of The Climate Group’s States & Regions Policy Innovation work.
The report also outlines how the latest States & Regions General Assembly, held last November during COP22 in Marrakesh, elected 5 new co-chairs. After reconfirming the Canadian province of Québec – lead by Premier Philippe Couillard – and South Australia – with Premier Jay Weatherill – as North America and Asia Pacific co-chairs, the assembly also elected KwaZulu-Natal (Premier Willies Mchunu), Catalonia (President Carles Puigdemont) and Jalisco (Governor Aristóteles Sandoval) to represent Africa, Europe and Latin America respectively.
The expansion and diversification of the leadership group highlights the growth and development of the Alliance, which also has a key focus on developing economies through a dedicated States & Regions Future Fund.
In 2016, the States & Regions Alliance also welcomed new members Attica (Greece), Yucatan (Mexico) and Western Cape (South Africa) – further expanding its reach across the globe and bringing the total number of members to 38.
Through the Under2 Coalition, The Climate Group is also an implementing partner of the 2050 Pathways Platform, helping states and regions to develop their long-term strategies for their emissions’ reduction plans by mid-century.
“As the world changes and global powers shift, tackling climate change remains both a challenge and an unprecedented economic opportunity,” concludes Libby Ferguson. “State and regional governments are rightly gaining increased recognition as key stakeholders and actors on climate change, and we will continue to demonstrate the opportunities and the necessity for more urgent action.”